Saturday, November 1, 2008

California Castle

Since the middle of October I've been visiting my Mom in Northern California. I wondered if a post from here would apply to this blog and thought more about starting a personal blog. But after a couple weeks of doing projects it's become clear that there's no division between location and life and it's that attitude I hope to convey here. The power to create then construct resonates at El Castillo closing the gap between thinking and doing by stripping away the conditioning of modern living. In other words junk is opportunity and less cash forces more creativity. Typically ideas start with much enthusiasm, but falter quickly when the "to do" list overwhelms the project. The attitude of "it's not worth doing unless you do it right" can stifle creativity and limit satisfaction. Remember the days before digital when the decision to take a picture weighed heavily against expensive film and developing costs. Yes the extra preparation and thinking produced good pictures, but excluded all but the very dedicated to explore the creativity of photography. Now the tables have turned and we take a hundred shots to get one good one, but in my opinion it's simply more fun. My mom's path brought her to a new house owned by a good friend, but abandoned for the past couple years. The place used to be a sheep farm and is dotted with old buildings full of "junk" matching up very well with mom's list of projects. Lists organize thoughts well, but become so large in relation to what's really getting done that feeling down tops the very list. We started by focusing on what matters to mom - gardens and horse. We just finished five grow boxes averaging 4'x8'x2' using the existing lumber and nails and found old windows that make perfect box covers. Numerous horse gates are now fixed and all without a trip to the hardware store and the current project is making a dry place for Mack to eat. It's not all perfect, but functions well enough to give huge returns for little investment. But it's not just taking advantage of what's around you, it's making a difference in someone else's life and your own by pushing forward and getting things done lifting the stink of stagnation. The difference one person makes can't be underestimated. This happens at the Castle when someone takes the ball and runs with it - making their mark and sparking a motivational domino effect inspiring everyone. Klaus and I have repeatedly co-motivated our efforts and for my time here I can see my mom's spirits lift with every completed project. In turn when I'm feeling low, her energy is enough for both since the real lesson learned is the power of giving AND accepting help. My mom has her own life and knows what works for her. I'm so glad to finally be old enough to understand that and offer her help she really needs that gives her the drive to push forward with her own dreams.

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